Record fair in the Brabanthallen
A little after 13:00 we arrive by car at the entrance to the halls, the amount of cars is a small reference to the size of this fair. I've been to record fairs before, but these were often smaller in size, which also has its advantages (I'll come back to this at the end). The entrance fee was €15 and parking by car comes with a fixed fee of €10.
Upon entering you are welcomed by advertising banners with promising inscriptions. Of course I immediately went for a stamp to fit in.
The stamp has a different purpose, of course, if you want to get some fresh air outside, you can go back inside without having to buy a ticket again.
When purchasing the ticket you will receive a folder with an overview of the event. I took the trouble to scan the four pages. You also get a good idea of the size with the floor plan.
When you enter the first hall it quickly becomes clear what the size of the event is. It's gigantic! Everywhere you look you see records, in all scents, colors and sizes. The visitors and stall holders also fit in with the environment, you will meet interesting people from all corners of the country and even far beyond. It is therefore nice to be able to share your passion for (analogue) music here with others who are just as fond of it.
In addition to this hall, there are two other halls that can be visited through large openings. These are also well filled with market stalls full of vinyl, but secretly also a lot of CDs and if you look carefully you will come across some other interesting media.
The vast majority of the fair therefore consists of Vinyl and CDs. But a few also have more to offer, we take a look at the highlights of the visit, supplemented with information.
Of course there are also record players to be found, here are a few of which I still doubt whether it is a player or a device to clean records on...
In addition, there are also attributes for the record player, dust covers, elements (needles) and felts for your player. The offer is large, wide and diverse!
After walking around for a while and just looking, I stumbled upon this shelf full of cassette tapes! I must also mention that I came here with very different plans than buying vinyl and CDs. After all, I had started the hunt for cassette tapes!
Twelve well-filled boxes to dig through, I find pre-recorded tapes from all kinds of years, from the 70s to the 90s.
Look what we find here! If you have read my previous blogs about 'New old tapes', here is the well-known publisher IMD about which I have already reported extensively, for those who have not yet read it, here is a link to the relevant blog.
Creedence Clearwater Revival with Rollin' On the River. Although I'm not specifically looking for anything, this band definitely appeals to me. In my opinion CCR is a band with a lot of nice songs, but the song 'Proud Mary' is one that I absolutely adore. The amazing thing about this is that I discovered this song through the version of Ike & Tina Turner who made a great cover of it, I found the cover on a mix tape I got at a thrift store and listened to on my bike to work . The circle is now complete. From a mix tape with Ike and Tina, to a pre-recorded CCR tape with the original!
There is also a box with tapes from other corners of the world. The nice thing about it is that I have a similar tape at home, but with a different model of cassette and sleeve. I had bought this in an audio store at the time because the cover appealed to me, because it comes in a cover that closely resembles that of the video cassette tape. Although I hesitate for a moment, I leave these tapes in the bin since I have no further interest in them.
To give a clear picture, here's the copy I have at home. The price sticker is still on it, but the tape is now empty. I deleted the content this with the idea of putting something new on it. I'll probably keep the card, but slide a new one over it with the contents that will be recorded on the tape.
You can clearly see that the box is comparable to that of the video tape, nevertheless it is a clumsy size, two of these boxes take up as much space as three normal cassette shells, also the system that should keep the box closed is no longer working that well, it sometimes opens on it's own. Nevertheless nice to own a copy of this with or without original content.
At the very bottom of the shelf I find my 'friend' James Last. Again, I have to refer here to my other blogs about cassette tapes. I've come across quite a few of his tapes. When I see how many copies are still in this box I suspect that I am just as big a fan of James Last as many other people who have been here at the fair...
Literally next to the shelf are a collection of empty tapes 'new' in packaging. The seller also had a small collection of Cassette singles. Nice to see this with your own eyes. But I leave these tapes for someone else. I still have piles of tapes to record on and the singles aren't worth it to me. The Philips tapes remind me strongly of the flopped DCC that was also designed by Philips...
... Sure enough, there are the DCC tapes! I ask the man for the price. €10 each, that's a bargain but given the titles I can understand it. In retrospect, it seems that the seller has already sold a few on the first two days of the fair, what remains are the less popular tapes. I look at them one by one but don't make a purchase.
I still had the idea to delete the contents of these tapes and make new recordings myself. But again I still have plenty of recordable DCC tapes in stock, and the only advantage that I gain with this is the housing which is just a bit nicer than the recordable tapes.
I continue my search and find a collection of Shellac records. I hadn't even considered that these would also be sold on the fair. For €1 each I check them all but don't see any interesting titles.
There was also a rather interesting portable cassette player from the National brand, which clearly dates from the time before the 'Walkman', unfortunately I didn't take a picture of it...
Something I've always found funny are the sometimes strange images printed on the vinyl covers "Karaoke Kings" with "Zeik Met de Fanfare" (Nag with the fanfare). At first glance you would think that this record contains songs by a local artist, this description is partly correct when I overhear the conversation between the seller and someone who is interested in the record. Turns out this is an album from the province of Limburg in the Netherlands, the content is a bit different than what you would expect from such an album. Here are some titles to give you an idea:
- Iech Hoof Geine Hond (I don't need any shit)
- Veur Alle Junken Op De Brök (For all Junks on the street corner)
- Stinkende Steeg (Smelly Alley)
- Frituur De Kut Kerel (Fried fries shop the asshole)
- Skinheads Rule
- Poep (Shit)
And even more quite striking titles. Somewhere I draw (perhaps incorrectly) the comparison with the local band from another province (Brabant) 'WC Experience" of which I heard a lot as a child. I can find little else about the record above except the name of the singer, so here's a link to Thei Dols (the singer) on Wikipedia.
I haven't shown much interest in Jethro Tull so far (which may still come), but otherwise know one of his songs very well. Funnily enough, he knows me too and even made a song for me. Although I think more for a namesake because I never knew the man personally... Here's a link to the otherwise pretty nice song.
"Hold on!!" Because in addition to music, there are also audio stories, some of which are depicted here. I myself used to have bedtime stories too, but in the form of red-colored cassette tapes with titles like Bambi, Alfred J. Kwak. and much more. Nice to see things like this back over here.
In addition, a lot of Band-related stuff is also sold, which is also called 'Merch' (short for Merchandise). Here's a collection of cool pins. I check if I see something nice but unfortunately I don't find anything to my preference.
When it comes to vinyl, I'm not necessarily looking for specific titles anymore, but sometimes my eye catches something I'm not unfamiliar with. Marilyn Manson is one of them. Not exactly your average artist, but secretly I can't resist buying an album from him. It is not the one in the photo by the way.
I mentioned before that people from all over the world have come this way, some come from very far! The collection of records here are editions of well-known bands and artists, but in a South Korean sleeve, quite interesting to see that the covers of some very famous bands look very different in other countries.
We therefore make a collage of different countries that have their stalls here.
I have seen Germany, Mexico, Greece, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Czechoslovakia and many more countries. Germans in particular have a striking majority of stalls, so it is useful that you speak a word of German if you want to haggle on the costs. Most of them speak normal English, sometimes moderately.
I almost forgot to mention it. Live music is also given in Hall 2 where live singing is performed, but also in Hall 3 where a DJ is busy 'scratching' vinyl on a combination of several turntables. Here you also have the opportunity to take refreshments via the stalls and vintage carts (Foodtrucks). Sandwiches, healthy snacks and of course fruit drinks, shakes and the popular beer are on the menu.
So we arrive at a candlelight dinner. A bowl of potato with white sauce and breaded noodles with vegetables...
Or in the case of my buddy, breaded chicken and potato with white sauce in combination with ground peanut. ;-)
You must have a big wallet if you have to pay almost € 7 for a fries with sauce and a snack. But it is logical that prices are higher here than what you are used to, people will buy it anyway if they are hungry or thirsty...
After lunch it is time to speed up, because the closing time of 5 PM is approaching. Here's another stall with very interesting new record players. It's not my taste, but I can understand that there are certainly enthusiasts for this. The price tags are also geared towards it.
But eventually I come to a corner where my mouth falls open. Displays with beautifully restored audio equipment. The corner is run by people who practice the same thing as what I consider a hobby. Repair and maintenance of 'vintage' audio equipment. Above are two compact tape recorders from highly regarded brands. The prices are high but still acceptable if you know what they can cost if you would buy them online.
Words cannot describe what goes through my head when I encounter these monstrously large machines! For me it really is the highlight of the day. So I stick around for half an hour to let it sink in. I also meet the person who maintains these machines and have a very interesting conversation where it becomes clear that we both secretly know a lot about vintage hifi and are also both completely crazy about them.
What you see here is real studio material. Countless songs have been compiled with this in the past. The tapes on these machines consist of dozens of tracks where a separate sound can be recorded on each track, Guitar, Piano, Drum, Vocals, etc. You can listen to the tracks on this tape separately, but also have them played parallel to each other. By means of 'sampling' you can put together a complete orchestra in this way, while in practice each instrument is recorded separately.
The result then becomes the 'master tape' used to make copies that are sent to duplication factories, these copies are then the basis for duplication to media which in turn is sold to the customer.
In short, a lot of music has been created on these kinds of machines. What makes it so special to be able to view some of these devices with your own eyes. For a sloppy €6000 you are the proud owner of one of these beautiful machines!
They also offer repairs for third-party equipment, so here's a link to their website.
But all good things come to an end, and so does the visit to the fair. The paths empty, the sellers start to pack their things and the central public address system (which is barely audible) announces with a female voice that it is almost closing time. Right now I'm starting to buy records and I manage to haggle a lot of the price. You can't get many records towards closing time, but what you can still score often goes for half the price!
When we walk back to the car it is striking how quiet it has already become. Many cars have disappeared and the last ones are on their way to their car or are just driving away. Once at home it is time to view/listen to the acquisitions.
I was able to score fairly well on the cassette shelf. Unfortunately it was the only seller of cassettes I came across. In addition, I obtained an interesting CD single from Queen, it is not worth playing because I already have the songs both digitally and analogue several times, but the Mini-CD is worth it as a collector's item.
This special LP has a very interesting cover, the content is no less. The compilation of songs are covers but made with everyday sounds from Tokyo in the early 80s. The result is a unique composition of music that you have never heard this way before. In the end I only recognize one song, 'The Model' by Kraftwerk. The funny thing about this song is that the lyrics are in Japanese, I can't figure out whether the lyrics are actually the same as the original.
The same seller from the previous record then came forward with this one. 'Electro Harmonic Work Band' I've never heard of it and said I'd like to buy it for half the price, partly because it's a gamble for me whether I'd like the music. The content concerns music from the early years of the Electro genre. I've listened to the album by now, but I'm not too happy about it, what isn't can still come, so keep it separate for a while.
Brian Eno with the 'album' Ambient 1 - Music for Airports. I know Brian Eno but not this album. The record was therefore made with the idea of using it in busy halls at an airport where the music is played in the background. The record can be called quite interesting, the music reminds me of the Cantata 700 that I worked on a few weeks ago. I can tell a lot about Brian Eno but for now refer you to this link on the English version of Wikipedia. The record is well worth the purchase and I am now curious about the subsequent releases of this series.
When I say I went looking for very specific material, I'm not lying. Danzig is no stranger to me, although I don't really know his music. Reason for buying this record is the specific song 'Mother' which I secretly really like. I'm surprised when I see that the sticker on the record itself is completely blank on both sides. Which is side A and which side is B? So it's a matter of finding which side I should have. Once I've put the record on I'm a bit disappointed. It is a Live album where the songs flow into each other a lot and sound slightly different than what you are used to. The song in question doesn't sound like I know it either. So the record is not here to stay, there may be a (maxi) single from the song Mother so I'll have to see about that...
I already mentioned that I used to listen to Marilyn Manson, although it's been years since I heard anything about it, I can't resist buying an album of his 'Greatest Hits'. Marilyn Manson is one of a kind, crazy yet a commercial and famous/infamous success in his own genre. In addition to his own works, he has also made a lot of covers that still sound pretty good (if I do say so myself). The contents of these two cool colored records are not all known to me. I haven't been able to listen to the records as I type this, but I will very soon. I'll be curious as to whether the records are really worth preserving, or whether they're going to be sold back to another potential fan of his gruesome music. And yes I must come clean and say that I'm well aware about the allegations against him.
Update: I've listened to the records in the meantime and I made a small mistake, the A side is badly pressed so that a strong 'slish' sounds through the entire A side. the B and other record (C & D) do sound clear. Afterwards I bought a second copy online where the exact same problem is present. This probably means that the entire series of this pressing has the problem...
Just before I leave the fair I buy this case for €19. Once at home I conclude that not all singles fit in the box, but when I take them all out of their plastic protective cover, the whole barely fits!
The stamp on my hand has now faded away and the day itself only lasts half an hour before the start of the new working week. Time to close this blog but not before I come back to what I said at the beginning about the smaller record fairs. A mega fair like this is very cool to visit, but the problem that occurred to me is that there are too many stalls and choice. As a result, you quickly no longer know where to look. Moreover, I had too little time to visit all the halls. I went through halls 2 and 3 very hastily and so I hardly noticed anything.
At the small fairs, you'll have plenty of time to look closely at each stall and browse the bins for the albums of interest. Because this fair was set up so large, I probably didn't come across a lot of nice records that I would have liked to add to the collection otherwise.
This concludes this blog, thanks for reading and hopefully I was able to share some of my experience with you!